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Dishing With Dee: Queens begins new year with lots of happenings

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Two very interesting events happened this week. One was on Sunday, Jan. 2, at the Polonise Palace in Greenpoint. The Polish American Congress held its Oplatek, the traditional Polish Christmas celebration. It was attended by the Polish Consul General and Frank Milewski, the downstate director of the Polish American Congress. Nickoli (Santa Claus) paid a visit and presented each child with a gift. The owner of the Polonise was most generous in his support of the group.Among the Queensites that attended were U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, Councilmembers David Weprin, Helen Sears, Hiram Monserratte, East Queens Democratic Club member Chet and Marion Szarejko, and Barbara and Ralph Barba. The program ended with a marvelous dance show by a local ballroom dancing school. The young people were extremely talented and aside from the usual type of ballroom dancing also performed the more difficult Viennese waltz, the tango, and the paso double. It was a lovely Christmas party containing many charming Polish holiday customs.The second interesting event was Tuesday morning when the alarm clock went off at 4 a.m. It was time to get up to get ready and drive to Northern and Springfield boulevards to catch the 'Acker Bus.' Every two years, U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman hires a bus and invites different groups of people to board the bus for a trip to Washington, D.C. to see the congressman get sworn in for another term.Ackerman's district includes both Queens and Nassau. Most of the people on this trip seemed to be from Nassau. Those from Queens included lots of old friends, among them were Jordan Goldes, Jerry Scharfman, and Susan Graff, all from Ackerman's Bayside office.Also along for the trip was TimesLedger columnist and political adviser Corey Bearak with son Jonathan and daughter Melissa. They have turned out to be quite impressive young adults. Well done, dad!Included in the group were Friends of Cunningham Park member Marc Haken, Barbara Jackson, Stanley and Nancy Shack, Terrence Park and Democratic District Leader Ethel Chen, who met us there.Since it's about a four-hour trip each way, they played movies for us. One of the movies on the way there was "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." As old as that movie is, it still hasn't lost its punch. The second movie was "Wag the Dog," which is becoming another political classic.After arriving at Ackerman's office we had lunch while we watched him and the other congressmen being sworn in. We watched the whole process on a TV in his office. The gallery was reserved for the families of the congressmen. After the ceremony we visited the gift shop to by some goodies and then we took a group tour to the Capitol building.Afterwards we all met back at the congressman's office where he signed a First Day Cover for each of us. For those of you who don't know, the congressman is an avid stamp collector. We were visited by U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley, who were visiting each congressman's office. We met U.S. Rep. Nydia Velasquez in the hall and ran into U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney in the street.We then walked over to the steps in front of the Capitol to have group photos taken with the Capitol dome in the background. While there we ran into Crowley again, this time accompanied by U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop. By that time it was after 5 p.m. and time to board the bus again for the long trip back home. Ackerman supplied everyone with a box meal and drink for our dinner. The two movies on the way back home were "Watergate" and "The Candidate." They looked like good movies, but most of us were so tired after such a long day that we were dozing and missed most of the movies. We will have to rent them to see how they ended.Thank you, Gary Ackerman, for a fun day. Everyone is looking forward to your next trip two years from now.On Thursday things started getting back to normal. We had a 6 p.m. committee meeting at Queens Theater in the Park, which is getting ready for its annual gala in May. There are many plans that must be made and various committees formed to execute those plans. As usual, it looks like a fun project to be working on.At 8 p.m. we covered the Jefferson Democratic Club's first meeting of the new year. Assemblyman Michael Gianaris was the guest speaker. Of course, we are sure you all know that he intends to run for Elliott Spitzer's seat as New York state attorney general. That should be an interesting race to watch, as we understand Mark Green is also considering running for the same seat.The last event, at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, was the Stevenson Democratic Club's induction of officers. Former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman did the honors. Among the attendees were state Sen. Toby Stavisky, Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn, Council members Tony Avella and David Weprin, former Councilman Morty Povman and former Assemblyman Barry Grodenchik, who tells us he is now working as a lobbyist with the Parkside Group. He said he loves his new job.Nettie's son, Lee, was there. Everyone whished him well in his new position as Queens Civil Court Judge. Mom Nettie and Dad Ron were bursting with pride. Congratulations to the Mayersohn family. Sorry we weren't able to attend Lee's official swearing in. It was conflicting with the schedule for all the many Christmas/holiday parties and logistically just wasn't possible. Good luck to you, Lee. We know you will make a great judge. Being Nettie's son, how could you be otherwise? In case you haven't guessed, Nettie is one of our favorite elected officials.Voice mail us at 718-767-6484, fax us at 718-746-0066 or e-mail us at deerrichard@aol.com.Till next week,Dee.

Updated 10:25 am, October 12, 2011
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